When Sasuke leaves the village, Naruto takes it quite personally.
What They Say:
Naruto is determined to save Sasuke, who has deserted the Hidden Leaf.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When the original series moved to the point where Sasuke left the village, it hit an interesting point by separating the two problem child and changing the path of their arc together, with Naruto intent on saving him and Sasuke intent on accomplishing his own goal. After spending much time going through the whole training side and then working through quite a few missions with conflict between them, but also some growing respect, it was a welcome change since the separation allowed each to grow completely independently. Not that they didn’t cross paths at times and grow because of each other, but it wasn’t the constant brushing up against each other kind of material. And that caused Naruto to man up in a way he hadn’t before.
Unfortunately, it also led to a lot of filler material with Naruto going through the motions while Sasuke was stuck in a box going through the changes required in order to become the vssel for Orochimaru. Through this recap form here, again with all new animation as the current show doesn’t own the rights to what was done in the first series, we get a much shortened and cleaner look at what happened done in the style of the animation now, which gives it a really good fluid feel as Naruto catches up to Orochimaru’s men that have the sealed Sasuke in the box. While it takes Sasuke out of the show for quite awhile, I just loved that they did this to such a popular character and he remained popular even still. It wasn’t the kind of thing you’d expect done nor for the length that they kept Sasuke in the shadows overall.
The fight that Naruto and Sasuke do have here does dominate the episode, much like it did back when it first happened in the series, and rightly so when you get down to it. It was the moment were Naruto truly realized what was at stake and that Sasuke was intent on killing him in order to achieve his own goal. But even though all of that was happening, he still viewed him as someone he wanted to help and save, even as Sasuke was plunging his first into Naruto’s chest. With the Nine-Tails backing it up, it turns into one of the more powerful sequences of the series as Naruto starts to lose control but is still solely focused on his friend. It’s one of the best parts of the series and one that I have yet to mind being recounted because of its importance.
Naruto: Shippuden continues to work through the back story that its fans know so well but I’m finding myself still enjoying this very condensed retelling of certain key events and motivation with the new animation. It’s all certainly familiar to say the least but they’re executing it well and slowing things down a bit more than usual with this episode in order to focus on the turning point in the relationship between the two leads of the series. This episode does some things well and while I don’t think it quite conveys the same power and import that it did in the original as that storyline spent a lot of time building towards it, they capture a good part of it here and help to reconnect the dots at the same time. And with the show getting back on track next week, it’s definitely the right time to get on with things again.